Ant Financial Joins $350M Round In Chinese Bike Sharing Firm Hellobike

Chinese bike sharing firm Hellobike has raised a US$350 million series D round from Alibaba Group Holding Ltd’s financial services affiliate Ant Financial, electric vehicle developer WM Motor, Chengwei Capital and bike manufacturer Fujita.

It marks the first funding round after the company merged with Shanghai Stock Exchange-listed bike rental firm Youon Bike two months ago, to compete with industry leaders ofo and Mobike.

It is unclear how Hellobike is valued in the round. The firm replied to an inquiry from China Money Network that "the valuation is not ready to be disclosed".

Hellobike’s successful funding round comes despite signs that the bike sharing industry bubble is deflating, and in some cases collapsing. State-owned news platform People’s Daily published an article last month saying six bike sharing start-ups, including venture capital-backed players like Xiaoming Bike and Bluegogo, went bankrupt. It is reported that customers have lost RMB1 billion (US$140 million) in deposit due to the bankruptcies of those companies.

Founded in 2016, Hellobike currently operates in over 100 cities with over 30 million registered users.

To survive, the company has avoided direct competition with larger rivals by focusing on smaller tier-three and tier-four cities. It has become the third largest bike sharing firm in China after merging with Youon Bike, but it remains far behind Mobike and ofo, which hold 56% and 30% market shares respectively, according to Sootoo.

Hellobike previously received an undisclosed amount of strategic investment from WM Motor this July. Two months prior, it raised a series B round worth hundreds of million of RMB from Chengwei and GGV Capital.

In January, it completed an undisclosed amount of series A+ round led by GGV, and another undisclosed amount of series A round from GGV in November last year.